Is there anything better at the close of a hot summer day than a bowl of homemade ice cream? Mmmm, I can almost taste it as I write! Regular store-bought ice cream is okay, but I’d choose the homemade any day.
Homemade ice cream goes hand-in-hand with these scorching summer days in southern Illinois. No matter how often you have homemade ice cream, it is always a treat.
My dad has always had a knack for knowing exactly how much water, salt and ice is needed, thus freezing the ice cream in what seems like record speed. Amazingly enough, he once managed to freeze a quart, hand-cranked freezer of ice cream in 7 minutes! Yes, that is right, unreal as it may seem. I was only 7, but I remember hearing my mom exclaim over the amazing feat!
Today I would like to introduce you to one of my very favorite ice cream flavors, blueberry cheesecake. I’ll give you a warning up front: Don’t expect to stop with only one serving; it’s no easy decision to quit after taking just a bite or two.
Last fall, I made it for my mother’s 50th birthday party when we were all together as a family. She loved it.
Blueberries have always been at the top of my list of favorite fruits. What is handier than having plenty of homemade blueberry pie filling on your shelves of canned goods ready for a pie or some other tasty treat?
An Amish family nearby has a blueberry patch where we have picked blueberries countless times over the years. And the owners have always assured us that we can eat as many as we want while we pick!
When I was 16, several of my younger siblings and I took our pony and cart to the blueberry patch to pick blueberries for Mom. After picking and bagging the blueberries we wanted, we untied the pony in preparation to go home. It was then that a nonAmish lady politely asked for permission to take pictures, which I consented. After taking snapshots she offered to take our mailing address and send them. I thought it sounded interesting and gave my consent once more.
A few weeks passed and I was excited one day to discover an envelope with pictures in the mail box. As I read the note I was amused, and bewildered. It said: “Dear Gloria, here are the pictures of you and your children.”
Me…a mother? Are you kidding me? I guess I looked older than 16 or maybe she was going by maturity, Mom joked.
At any rate it gave us a good chuckle.
Now, for the blueberry ice cream! I’ll give you the recipe that I use which fills a 6-quart freezer. You can divide it into smaller batches and even make it in a blender using frozen milk cubes to thicken it and drink it, smoothie-style. Enjoy this special treat on a hot day!
GLORIA’S BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE ICE CREAM
1 1/2 cup sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
6 eggs, beaten
1 6-ounce package instant vanilla pudding or clear-gel (see note below)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups cream
6 cups milk
3 cups blueberry pie filling
3/4 sleeve of crushed graham crackers
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
Mix crumb ingredients together. Beat cream cheese and sugar together and then add eggs, pudding, salt, vanilla and cream. Blend well and then add milk and pie filling. Freeze in 6-quart freezer. Add crumbs when finished, turning a few times to mix in the crumbs.
Note: I prefer to replace the pudding with the same amount of instant clear-gel, to cut back on the artificial sweetening. Clear-gel is a thickener that can be found in many Amish bulk food stores.
Editor’s note: The USDA advises against the consumption of raw eggs. Use this recipe at your own risk. This recipe can be made without the eggs and it will turn out just fine. The eggs, Gloria said, serve to add “body” to the ice cream; you get a thicker, more custardy ice cream.